Skin cancer is the most common type of malignancy in the US. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma by the age of 65. (Melanoma is less common but much more dangerous.) Many people would be as surprised as one reader was to learn that taking a simple nontoxic vitamin could help prevent skin cancer.
A Vitamin to Help Prevent Skin Cancer:
Q. As a middle-aged, fair-skinned redhead, I have had several run-ins with precancerous and basal skin cell cancers. I see my dermatologist every 6 months, and usually have many ‘rough’ precancerous spots ‘burned’ off, particularly from the back of my hands.
My friend’s son lives in Australia, and she told me about studies there showing niacinamide supplements reduce the incidence of precancerous cell growth. My dermatologist wasn’t really familiar with these studies, but said it can’t hurt to try.
I’ve been taking 500 mg of niacinamide supplements daily for the past year, and have had zero recurrence of these rough spots on my hands. It has been a truly remarkable change for me. Have you heard anything about taking niacinamide to prevent some skin cancers?
Australian Research Shows Niacinamide Can Help Prevent Skin Cancer:
A. Your friend is right that Australian dermatologists and scientists have done most of the studies in this arena. We described such a study that made headlines in 2015.
One recent review of the research concludes that nicotinamide (another name for niacinamide) holds promise for preventing both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (Minocha, Damian & Halliday, Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, online July 5, 2017). Another summary concludes that nicotinamide acts in several ways to reduce actinic keratoses (your rough spots) and nonmelanoma skin cancers (Damian, Australasian Journal of Dermatology, Aug. 2017). Thank you for letting us know of your success.
People concerned about skin cancer may also want to discuss blood pressure medicine with their physicians. A recent Danish study suggested that people who take hydrochlorothiazide, a common drug to treat hypertension, are more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer.